The Intel Extreme Masters 2020 in Katowice, Poland was the last LAN event the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) circuit hosted. Though it featured the normal breathtaking moments of brilliance from the likes of S1mple, Flusha, and KennyS, it was an eerie sight to see an empty stadium for what is one of the highlight events of the year. Things would only get worse as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world and disrupted events left right and center, sending everything to regionalized, online events.
Things around the Counter-Strike world have been shaken up, but who’s really struck out during the disruption?
Karrigan, Ropz, Woxic, Frozen, and ChrisJ were firmly established as one of the finest teams in the world pre-lockdown. Having been assembled by the legendary Danish leader, Karrigan led his side to victory at ESL Pro League Season 10 and the European roster only trailed behind four-time Major Champions Astralis in the HLTV world rankings between December and February.
With the side built around the balance of the experience of Karrigan and ChrisJ and the raw talent of the three prodigies, the online era started well enough for Mouse as they made it to the final of ESL Pro League Season 11, notably besting Astralis in the semis before losing out to Fnatic.
Since then, however, the team has been in free-fall. They dropped out of the top five on the 9th of June and then out of the top ten entirely by the end of the month. They have since finished 13th-14th at the Road to Rio, 13th-16th at the Spring Masters, and they were dumped out of the BLAST Spring Showdown without ranking in the group stage.
The one-time heroes of Brazilian CS and putting it on the world map, Fallen, Fer, Taco, KNVG, and Trk are the embodiment of the rags to riches story of how to make money playing video games. Their hard work and passion for the game led them to back to back Major Championship wins whilst with Luminosity and SK Gaming, but it’s fair to say that since the switch to Made in Brazil, things have been inconsistent, to be polite.
But this trope has gone to new extremes during the lockdown, with MiBR being stranded in the North America groups and routinely being beaten by the sides around them. The Brazilians just look off the pace compared to the likes of Furia and EG, and this has been reflective in their tournament performances.
They finished 7th-8th out of 12 at the Road to Rio, 5th-6th out of eight at DreamHack Spring, and were unranked during the recent CS_Summit RMR event with a 0-2 record, dropping them out of the top ten of the HLTV world rankings.
Possibly the best team to ever pick up a video game, Astralis are the only side in CS history to have won four Major Championships and have won the last three in a row. Heading into the lockdown, they had been ranked as the world’s best team for a mammoth 82 weeks in a row, but they now find themselves in free fall and no real future in sight.
Having won the ESL Road to Rio event during the lockdown, the CS: Global Offensive world was rocked when it was announced that IGL Glave and clutch-master Xyp9x would be stepping away on medical leave.
Jugi and Snappi joined up for the lockdown, but the Danes’ invincibility was at an end. Having never finished out of the top five in an event under Glave, new leader Magisk led his side to a lowly 9th-12th finish at the Spring Masters, a failed qualifying campaign for the BLAST Showdown and the announcement that the team wouldn’t even be able to compete at CS_Summit.
Dark times for Astralis fans for sure.